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Gopher volleyball's Taylor Landfair named Big Ten Player of the Year

Gophers volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon to become U's associate athletic director
Gophers volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon to become U's associate athletic director 00:33

MINNEAPOLIS -- For the third season in a row, a Gopher women's volleyball athlete has been named the Big Ten Player of Year.

Taylor Landfair has had a dominant season as an outside hitter, coming back to the court after an injury took her out for most of last year. The redshirt sophomore led the Big Ten with 4.99 points and 4.43 kills per set.

Last weekend, the Gophers capped off their regular season with two wins against No. 8 Ohio State and No. 5 Nebraska with Landfair leading with 6.36 points and 5.71 kills per set. She also tallied 1.29 blocks, 2.14 digs, and 0.43 assists per set. She had 25 kills against the Buckeyes and 16 kills against the Cornhuskers, leading Minnesota to sweep Nebraska at Lincoln for the first time in 40 years.

Over the course of the season, Landfair has earned four Big Ten Player of the Week awards and last week was named AVCA National Player of the Week. 

"I was really excited because I feel like I've worked really hard this year and then also, having an injury last year. Just being able to bounce back and earn this award means so much to me," Landfair said to the Big Ten's Emily Ehman. 

She credited her teammates and her work on the technical aspect of the game with helping elevate her performance this season. 

"Here's an athlete that's been told probably she's - and she has been, don't get me wrong - really good, but here she is working and learning and changing all the way through the season," said head coach Hugh McCutcheon. 

McCutcheon announced mid-season that he would be stepping down after his last match. He'll take on a new position as Minnesota's associate athletic director.

Until then, the Gophers are looking to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament. They face off against Southeastern Louisiana on Friday.  

Minnesota has garnered six of the Big Ten Player of the Year awards in the last eight seasons; Stephanie Samedy won back-to-back accolades in 2020 and 2021. Now Landfair joins an elite group of athletes which include Daly Santana, Sarah Wilhite, and Samantha Seliger-Swenson.

"It shows that we know what's going on in the gym," Landfair said. "If we put in the right amount of work and we always make sure to listen to our coach - especially Hugh because he has so much knowledge when it comes to volleyball."

Carter Booth and Melani Shaffmaster were named, along with Landfair, as first-team all Big Ten selections. CC McGraw was named to the second team.

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